Officials were on hand to announce the funding for upgrades to the McCaffrey Lift Station

Upgrades for Agassiz’ oldest sewage lift station

Federal, provincial and municipal money come together for $200,000 project in District of Kent

The McCaffrey sewer lift station will be getting some much-needed upgrades following a federal / provincial funding announcement last week.

This lift station is “an essential component of the district’s sanitary sewer system,” remarked Mayor John Van Laerhoven during a press conference Thursday, July 2. “I believe it’s one of our oldest lift stations and it’s definitely in need of an upgrade.”

A lift station takes the sewage from an area and pumps it up into the main line which then goes to the treatment plant, explains Steve Nuttall, utilities supervisor at the Agassiz Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The McCaffrey station is one of five lift stations in Agassiz. It services 34 residential homes, the RCMP Agassiz detachment, the federal Pacific Agri-Food Research Station and the UBC Dairy Education and Research Centre.

Part of the lift station was upgraded about 15 years ago, but the original station was built in the late 1970’s. Since then, there have been numerous add-ons in the neighbourhood, increasing the output to more than what the station was designed to handle.

“We’ve had issues with levels and flows, including backups,” reports Nuttall.

Problems led to operators being called out, sometimes in the middle of the night, to deal with situations, explains Nuttall. Put simply, the upgrades have “been needed for awhile.”

MP Mark Strahl and MLA Laurie Throness were in Agassiz to make the announcement of federal and provincial funding up to $66,666 each for the upgrades. The remaining third of the total $200,000 project costs will be paid for by the District of Kent.

“Sometimes the things that are invisible, and that you want to remain invisible, are some of the most important things in the community, like sewer,” said Throness. “This federal / provincial municipal program fills a really important need, of doing some of those bread and butter things in communities that are indispensable.”

In his speech, Strahl highlighted the benefits of the McCaffrey station improvements and his government’s role in funding projects in small communities. But he also commented that he is sad that this could be his last announcement here as MP for the Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon riding, which will be split for the next election into the Chilliwack-Hope riding while the District of Kent and Harrison Hot Springs will be part of the new Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon riding.

The financing came out of the federal-provincial Small Communities Fund, which will see $42 million distributed across the province.